Monday, April 23, 2012

Earth Day

We spent Earth Day (Sunday April 22nd, also the 2-year anniversary of Totem's premiere) at the San Diego Earth Fair.  Billed as the "largest free annual environmental event in the world" - it was a decidedly mixed bag.

Held in Balboa Park (which was a bonus, getting to explore this area a bit), and drawing around 60,000 visitors, it was hard to cut through the clutter.  There were plenty of good, solid organizations represented (Peace Corps, Amnesty International, Greenpeace) but they were completely mixed in with Legalization petitioners, people selling handmade anything, religious groups, and ride-on-the-bandwagon marketers.  We were particularly shocked when we started down the path to the Children's Area, and were met with big signs: Protect Your Children From Gruesome Images Ahead.  The signs, posted by Earth Fair, notified us that the path ahead was filled with anti-abortion protesters displaying horrific imagery.  That they were not supported by Earth Fair, but that Earth Fair could do nothing about them.  And, though we did our best to steer clear of these areas, the truly awful photos and signage were glaring, and hard for the kids to completely miss.  Baz was terrified throughout the day of running into more of these areas, and we had to keep reassuring him, though we weren't entirely confident ourselves.  In comparison, the Jesus freaks holding huge FEAR GOD placards high above us seemed harmless.

We persevered and found some small but good experiences for the kids.  We took them around looking at the "green" cars on display, and explored the botanical gardens, and particularly liked this area full of sticks and giant leaves and pinecones where you could build your own structure.

We also got to see a display of capoeira, which was fascinating for all of us, and an outdoor organ concert.  In Balboa Park they have this massive outdoor organ, with free concerts every Sunday afternoon.  I don't think I'd ever heard organ music outside of a church, so it was pretty interesting.

As is often the case, these kinds of overwhelming events make me think that, instead of constantly exposing the kids to more stuff, it may be better to let them simply be, in a smaller universe, really exploring their immediate world.  And yet that type of let-it-be, homebody mentality seems impossible for me to attain.

The important thing was that we got outside on Earth Day.  The kids got to touch plants and animals and dirt and rocks, and we showed our support to some of the groups out there working to make our world a better place.

In the meantime, my homesickness, and yearning for less adventure & more connections, seems to be growing.

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